London - Kelechi Iheanacho will now join the camp of the Flying Eagles for the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand after scoring two goals for Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad (EDS) in their final game of the season against Manchester United, Supersport reports.
The two goals he scored arrived in the second half but he almost opened the scoring late in the first stanza.
A loose ball ricocheted into his path in fortuitous fashion but having stayed on his feet when the goalkeeper seemed to obstruct his route to goal, he shot straight at the Manchester United man.
He made up for the miss in the 55th minute with a goal of the highest quality.
The Flying Eagles man expertly left his marker for dead with a deft bit of improvisation to put City back on level terms after United had taken the lead in the 43rd minute.
His finish was described in the official Manchester City website (www.mcfc.co.uk) as “a goal of technique, skill and composure – just what the Blues had lacked in the opening 45.”
Also read: Flying Eagles name Iheanacho, Ezeh for U20 W/Cup
Iheanacho has never been one to rest on his laurels and he almost completed his brace soon after but was denied by a fine stop by the United goalkeeper Kieran O’hara.
The Nigerian was not to be denied for long and eventually completed his brace 10 minutes from the end with a curling effort that left O’hara with little chance.
Riding the crest of a wave
Injuries threatened to hamper Iheanacho’s season as he was sidelined for lengthy periods but he bounced back in style to score for City in the FA Youth Cup final defeat to Chelsea.
Good news was to follow soon after though, as he again scored but this time the effort helped City claim silverware in the International Premier League Cup where Portuguese side FC Porto were put to the sword in the final.
Iheanacho has always displayed ability far beyond his tender years and first caught the eye at the global stage during the 2013 Fifa Under-17 World Cup where his six goals and seven assists saw Nigeria win the title.
It was no surprise that Fifa named him the best player of the tournament.
He then went on to impress for Manchester City’s senior squad during their summer tour of the United States where he scored twice (against Sporting Kansas and AC Milan) and duly attracted words of adulation from manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“Kelechi is just 17 years old and he’s a very important player for us in the future.
“He demonstrated what he can do in the future. It depends on the way he takes this profession, but I think he’s a good talent,” Pellegrini had said.
Iheanacho has taken giant strides since then, posting consistently telling performances for the EDS of City.
His rather unconventional yet highly effective style of play did not go unnoticed by the reigning African Footballer of the Year and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
“Kelechi is an exciting player. I love the way he plays and I feel that he will have a good career at the club and go on to become one of the players of the future,” Toure said of the Nigerian.
Iheanacho seemingly has the world at his feet and will look to add another feather to his cap when he joins up with the Nigeria Under-20 squad for the 2015 Fifa World Cup in New Zealand.
Head coach of the Nigeria squad, Manu Garba told supersport.com in April that Iheanacho’s presence in the squad will inspire the Flying Eagles at the tournament.
“Iheanacho is a very good player and I have no doubt that he will be an important part of our plans to win the title in New Zealand,” he said.
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